Life changes in 2012 and looking forward to 2013

This post is word-heavy, so if you are only wanting pretty pictures, you are forewarned.

Can you believe 2012 has come and gone already? It amazes me how slowly the days go by, but how quickly the years do. 2012 has been a year of change, simplification, and reflection for me. I spent a good majority of the year deliberating and figuring out exactly what I want out of this blog. I’m happy to report that I have a clear direction now, and am very happy with my decisions. More on that in a minute though.

I say 2012 was a year of change and simplification for me because our family went through some serious life changes this past year – most of which I haven’t really mentioned on the blog. We went gluten-free. We started tackling our finances a la Dave Ramsey. And I’ve been on a quest to just get rid of all the crap and simplify my life. In 2012 we started finally getting our lives in order.

After several years of dealing with unexplained health issues (mainly crippling fatigue and thyroid issues) I read a book called Wheat Belly. It sounds corny, but it changed my life. I’ve been gluten-free/wheat-free for about 5 months and have never felt better and I have even lost 16 lbs. My husband read the book and dropped wheat as well. After dealing with ADHD issues with our son for 3 years, and hating that he is on medication, we took him off gluten as well. (And also red food dye). His hyperactivity is virtually gone, and he is finally medication-free. Going gluten-free has been life altering.

Dave Ramsey
In addition to taking back our health, we also have started taking back our finances. It has been a long, hard road to pay off all our debt and become financially free. We aren’t there yet, but we have made some serious progress. I know that if we continue to stick with this plan, we will be able to pay for our kids to go to college and we will have a fully-funded retirement account. Dave Ramsey isn’t just about paying off your debt – that is only a small part of the plan. It is a complete life plan for your finances. Cutting up our credit cards this year and going on a cash only plan has taught us how to budget, how to save, and how to wait until we can afford something before we purchase it.

The final big change we made in 2012 was to simplify our lives. The crap and clutter were getting me down. I felt like my life was out of control and I was just along for the ride. I made a conscious decision this year to not purchase any home decor unless I knew exactly what I was going to do with it. I went through our house and got rid of anything we weren’t using. I got rid of all my piles of decor that didn’t have a home. I had a garage sale and I donated tons of stuff to family, friends, and the thrift store. Excess stuff weighs me down. I feel like I can’t breathe. I want my home and life to be simple and intentional. I’m not there yet, but I have big plans to continue simplifying in 2013.

Blog goals for 2013
Oh, where do I begin with this topic? I have started and re-started blog posts about my blog plans so many times, but they always end up in the trash can. I can never seem to get my intentions down on paper in a way that I feel comfortable sharing. But I’ll give it a go anyway.

I spent 2012 thinking about my blog and what my plans are for the future. At the beginning of the year I was neck-deep in Sponsors, product reviews, giveaways, partnerships, and affiliates. I liked the money, but to be 100% honest, I hated that part of my blog. I went down that path because everyone else was doing it, so that must be what I need to be doing too. As a blog grows, it naturally needs to start promoting and making more money, right? My calendar was chock full of awesome opportunities with lots of businesses. And I was miserable. Mis-ra-ble. I started this blog to share my journey decorating my house and doing home-y stuff. As my traffic grew, I started getting requests from companies to promote their stuff. They would pay me and I would get free stuff. Double bonus. So I went along. Before I knew it, I had a full-fledged LLC, I was filing quarterly taxes, and I was working a lot of hours a week.

One day, I just said enough is enough. What I want is a hobby blog. I know that I can make a career out of my blog if I wanted to, but that isn’t what I want. I don’t want a career. I am fortunate enough to stay at home with my kids, and what I want to do is stay at home with my kids! I want to be present in their lives, not just in the same room as them while I’m plugging away on my laptop trying to meet deadlines. I make a nice part-time income on my ad networks alone, so I dropped all my sponsors. I finished up all my contracts and partnerships. I started telling everyone no. And I started blogging again as if it were a hobby that I love doing. I still work with two companies because I absolutely love working with them and I enjoy that partnership. I can’t say I won’t ever have sponsors again, or that I will even continue working with the two I’m with. I just want to see how it goes and do what genuinely makes me happy.

I don’t know if you even noticed, or if you can even tell a difference, but I am so much happier. And I love my blog again. I actually want to write posts to share my updates with you. It isn’t a chore anymore. I try to stick to a 3x a week schedule, but even that isn’t set in stone. I just blog when I’m happy and I have something to share. I have been very sick this month with bronchitis, so I just took some time off and recovered instead of worrying about getting a post up. It was nice to not have the stress, but I did miss you guys!

And the funny thing? The second I dropped my sponsors and stopped promoting stuff, my page views increased and I started making even more money from the ad networks. So honesty, the pay has pretty much stayed the same even without all the promoting. It’s a win/win. I’m a happier blogger and I feel like my readers are happier to not read promotional stuff anymore. I know it’s awkward to mention making money by blogging, and I generally steer clear of that topic in fear of getting flamed (again and again), but the fact is, I do make some money from the blog. 50% goes to taxes and blog bills, and the remainder I use to fund any projects that I blog about and pay to go to blog conferences.

So there you have it. What I accomplished in 2012, and what my blog goals are for 2013 (to just keep on having a good time).

And now, here are my top 5 most viewed projects in 2012:

Coming in at #1 is How to Mount your TV on the wall and hide the cords.

This really surprised me. I wasn’t even going to write this post, but Ben encouraged me and said it would be a good one. It is the most controversial post on my blog and continues to receive the most negative comments of any post I’ve ever written. I’ve regretted posting it on numerous occasions.

My 2nd most popular post is How to Make Professional Lined Curtain Panels.

I thought this post was going to be the most popular post because it has been pinned so many times. I’m glad everyone has enjoyed making their own curtains.

Number 3? How to make a cheap awesome curtain rod.

I still love this post and think these rods are the bees knees.

My 4th most popular post is Pumpkin Cookies.

These things are by far the best pumpkin cookie I have ever tasted, so I’m glad you guys like them too! And I’ve even made them with Gluten-Free baking flour and they are perfect.

And finally, my 5th most popular post of 2012 is How to paint straight lines.

I still paint this way and I still think it’s the best way to get a crisp line.

What is funny is only one of these 5 posts was even written in 2012. I guess I need to step up my game and start putting out more popular tutorials again. Or I should be grateful that my old content continues to inspire. I ended 2012 with 3.2 million page views – more than 2010 and 2011 combined. I’m continually in awe that anyone even wants to read my little corner of the net, much less more than 3 million page views last year (and almost 2 million visitors!). It cracks me up because I feel like such a huge dork all the time.

Thanks for reading, I’m glad you love the blog, and I hope I can exceed all your expectations for this next year.

Love ya!

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  1. wow. i’m so impressed with your life changes, your blog traffic and your awesome tutorials.

    i’m moving back towards my bloggy hobby roots, i think it’s a good thing.

    i hope to simplify in 2013, here’s hoping i’m as successful as you were at it in 2012!

    happy new year!

    • Anna, I think it’s a good thing too. Blogging has changed so much the last 3 years. Everyone has gotten too professional. Everyone wants a career and a tv deal and a magazine shoot. I miss just reading the raw gritty posts back when people wrote from their heart, not from what would give them more publicity. I am happy for the publicity I have been given, but I don’t seek it out and I would rather just do my own thang. Congrats on going back to your blogging roots too. I think more people need to trend this way. Happy 2013 to you too.

  2. Woohoo! Yay for all your cool changes! I bet you are a skinny minny now!! Can’t wait to see you in a few months!

    Becky B.
    Organizing Made Fun

  3. I think this is awesome!! I’ve been wanting to do the Gluten free myself for an Auto Immune Disease I have & also for my ADD daughter. I’m not a reader though but if the book is interesting enough, I’ll get thru it someway!
    Cheers to 2013!!!

  4. Holy smokes! I can completely relate to all your life changes this year! Gluten-free – yep (well, i’m trying) Getting our finances in order? Yep. Getting rid of all the “stuff” around my house? Yep. Deciding what direction to go with my blog? Yep. I am much less stressed, content with what I’ve decided and way fewer headaches. 2013 should be a good year. Hope it’s that way for you too 🙂

    • Eliesa, I don’t think I’m the only one trending this way. I see more and more people hopping on the gluten-free bandwagon, and doing Dave Ramsey, and just wanting a more simple life. Simple is the new trend for 2013 I think! Let’s all just get healthy and happy in 2013. Cheers!

  5. Tori Simons says:

    I found you on Pinterest a while ago but my favorite part about your blog was that we’re practically neighbors. I love supporting anything local and your blog has been inspiring for me. Good for you for making a change this year. Your happiness is the only thing that matters!

  6. I could wax quite verbose in my response to this post, Allison, but instead I’ll limit myself to just a few things: a) good for you for both pinpointing what you want and then going down that path, b) agreed – simplicity is always best. ALWAYS, c) i’m a huge fan of debt-free; we’ve never had debt (‘cept the mortgage), and I can’t imagine having things any other way. brava!, d) your blog is refreshingly genuine and down to earth. Congrats on your success! (Do you offer blog-help consultation? 🙂 ) I think we would be friends in real-life if we were neighbs.
    xox, Brittney

  7. Molly Blomeley says:

    I am proud of you! I will read your blog regardless! I love your wit and designs and positive attitude!

  8. Really? The mounted tv on the wall and hiding the cords gets negative comments?? What? I must have clicked on that one a thousand times when my husband and I did that to ours, and we both think you are dang awesome for posting it! Also the curtain rods…oh how that saved my sanity and budget many times.

    The life changes you guys have implemented take a lot of courage….good for you! Seriously.

    I’m so happy you are happier and sure of what you want out of this blog…it’s one of my very favorites out there. Thank you!

    • Rachel, I know, right? Apparently it isn’t to code. I need to get an electrician to put in an outlet about 3 feet above the current one I have. Seriously? Seems cray-cray to me, but I guess that’s the law.

  9. Yay! I am so happy for you and your family! Especially, your son. I can not tell you how many times I have read or heard of someones health making drastic positive changes by simply eliminating red food dye. Sure wish the they would eliminate all unnatural food dyes. I have heard many positive things about a gluten free diet, too. I am a believer in looking at ones eating habits to try and cure ailments. If we eat like crap, expect our bodies to become as such.

    I am happy that you are happy. Good for you for sticking to what is best for you.

    Thank you for all that you do and being an inspiration to others. 🙂


    • Julie, amen! If we eat like crap, we will feel like crap. Took me 32 years to figure that out. I’m glad I am able to help my children grow up eating healthier though so hopefully they won’t struggle with the health issues I’ve had.

  10. Helena Pacheco says:

    Great read love the honesty.. I’m glad 2012 was a good year for you I hope 2013 is awesome.. Love reading your blog because you always keep it real.. Thanks

    • Helena, thank you. I appreciate that. I just write whats on my mind. I’m glad it goes over well on the blog, because sometimes my mouth gets me in trouble in real life! ha!

  11. Sounds like great changes! I’m also GF and it’s tough, but worth it! Now when are you going to take an RV trip around the country? 🙂

    • We would love to RV around the country! It’s part of our 5 year plan. We want to at least do a 3 month RV summer one year. I would love to be able to see all the sights in America, and I’m sure the kids would never forget it.

  12. What a great post…I love that you changed directions to do what woks or you and your family…regardless of popular opinion. Congratulations on making things happen!

  13. I’m so happy that 2012 was such a good year for you. We live such completely different lives but I admire you a lot. You’ve got a hell of a backbone and can’t wait to see you again!

  14. Actually my daughter has been gluten free for 6 yrs now after years of tummy troubles and migraines. Who would have ever known that that had been the culprit behind her migraines all these years since she was about 21/2 yrs old. They gave us a list of everything to go off of and wheat/gluten was not on that list. LOL
    The tummy troubles didn’t really start till about middle/high school age. All though she still does have tummy trouble but just a different kind. She has had only a couple of migraine’s since going gluten free very few and far between compared to what it was before. That makes mom and daughter very happy. Yes she had seen a Doctor for this and she had suggested at that time to eliminate gluten/wheat for a couple of weeks and come back in for blood tests. Only to find out later that we should have had the blood tests and a scoping tests done before to check for Celiacs Disease. Well after going gluten/wheat free for a couple of weeks actually was making her feel much much better. After learning that she should have waited on the G/W Free diet until after all testswere done, and yes we were upset with the Dr and have switched to a different Dr.
    I’m sorry that this ended up being a really long post but it may end up helping someone in the long run. Good luck with with everything in 2013.

    • I’m glad you shared all that info. It probably will help someone else out. I was tested for celiac years ago but it was negative, so it took awhile for me to realize that it was the gluten making me sick. I always tell people, just go gluten-free for a month and see what happens. If you get better, awesome! If not, then you know it’s not the wheat and you can start eating it again. It doesn’t hurt you to not eat it, so might was well just try.

  15. I can’t remember when I started following your blog, but I’ve always loved your blog. Thanks for posting what you’ve done over the past year…I can’t imagine the lifestyle change it was to start being gluten-free!

    As for your top 5 posts, when we finally have our own home (instead of renting one), I want to hide my cords in the wall like how you’ve done. People who write negative comments are the type of people who aren’t happy unless they’re unhappy.

    Thanks again and can’t wait for your upcoming posts!

  16. Yay for you Allison on all of it! On eating better and helping to fix all those health problems naturally, for decluttering your house and life, getting control of your finances, and for taking back your blog 🙂 You gotta do what you love and sometimes it takes saying “no” to do that.

    Will I see you at Haven this year?? 🙂

    • Christina, yes you will see me at Haven! I swore last year I was done with blog conferences and I wasn’t going to any more of them (I get terrible social anxiety so conferences totally stress me out), but wouldn’t you know it, I’m going to THREE this year. I said I wouldn’t do any, and now I’m going to more in one year than ever before. I’m a glutton for punishment. I’ll be at Blissdom, SNAP, and Haven. I am looking forward to seeing you and hopefully hanging out a ton!

  17. Great post! I miss the pictures of course, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post. I’m a new follower/blogger and reading that post helped me to get to know you better. Thanks for sharing! Would love for you to check out my fledgling blog. I’m always doing something around the house or crafts so I thought, “why not just blog about what I’m always doing anyway”? Here’s the address. I’d be honored if you’d stop by and see my handy-work when you get a minute. Thanks again for sharing and have a great week!

  18. Allison, I am so impressed with your changes, and glad to hear you are happier because that is the most important thing!!! Hugs and love friend!!

  19. I’m so happy for you that this year had such amazing hurdles met. You are an inspiration friend:)

  20. Good for you! And your family! Sounds like a great plan all the way around. Enjoy your new life and your new year, and we’ll all look forward to the fun things you have to offer.

  21. You are in inspiration!!! Way to go! I only dream of changing my diet that drastically because I’m too lazy and not disciplined enough! I need to become better friends with Dave Ramsey. And I need to get rid of a TON of crap from my house! Yeah for everything you have done and will do because you want to! happy 2013!!!!

    • Michelle, do you know how to eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Just make small changes every day and before you know it, your whole life will be better. If I think of eating gluten free for the rest of my life, I cry. It’s hard and I miss a good ol slice of pizza or a piece of birthday cake. So I don’t think about next year. I just think about what I’m eating today. Day by day, I can do it.

  22. Go for you! I am praying that 2013 will be the year for me. I too am trying to simplify my life and make big changes that make family first. I have really thought about the gluten free, even tried it for a week and caved. I would LOVE if you would share some of the ways you did it esp with a child. Thanks a zillion. kat

    • Gluten-free is by far the hardest the first few weeks. Wheat has an addictive quality, and you will 100% go through withdrawals like a drug addict. If you can make it two weeks, you are over the hump. Once you get it out of your system and you have detoxed from it, you don’t crave it at all. Just hang in there, eat lots of meat, cheese, and corn, and you can do it. When I went off wheat, I allowed myself to eat anything I wanted, regardless of calories. It was the only way I could get though that initial withdrawal.

  23. Just want to say kudos to you for taking your life back…as a new blogger and someone who has read blogs for a LONG time before starting my own, my biggest pet peeve are blogs that are sponsor driven. I get that people are using their blogs as a source of income, but talking ads and sponsored posts are the most boring to read. I am very curious about this Wheat Belly book. I have seen it mentioned alot lately – I will definitely have to look into that one. Your projects are always amazing and pin-worthy and I for one will be looking forward to following along this year. Happy 2013!

  24. Hi Allison

    I really enjoyed this post! I would love it if you wrote a post on going gluten free (struggles, things that were easy etc). I have 3 kiddos and would like to give it a go to see if it would fix some behaviour issues that we struggle with but have (unfortunately) put it into the too hard basket. It would be interesting to hear first hand how you worked your way through it.

    Can’t wait to read more in 2013!

    • Samantha, I will do a post about gluten free hopefully next week. Lots of people have been asking about it. When our son was diagnosed 3 years ago with ADHD we considered changing his diet first but it was too hard, so we just put him on meds. I didn’t think a diet change would even help. (Please know that each child is different and just because we can deal with his issues through food does not mean every child can be off meds. Do what is best for your child. If they need meds, don’t deprive them.)
      He had a lot of bad side effects of the meds, so I wanted to get him off of them. So we started experimenting. First we cut out red dye. After about a year we cut out gluten. It was hard and the kids will have to make some big changes, but because our whole family is gluten-free it is definitely easier to feed the kids that way. If one were and the rest weren’t, I think the one would feel punished.
      I started off slowly and just introduced a few gluten-free foods. Over time we gradually switched all the food. The hardest adjustment was the gluten-free bread (Udi’s is the best and only brand I’ll buy). Once we found a good bread and he got use to the thicker texture, everything has been smooth sailing. If you can’t find a good bread, packed lunches for school each day is a nightmare. You can’t really pack your kid a hot lunch every day, and buying a lunch at school is out of the question.

      • Thanks Allison. I’m in Australia so I will have to look out for a good gluten free bread. We only have tuckshop once a week here in schools. I will have to get organised before the kids start back at school at the end of the month so at least the sandwich situation is under control. Thanks so much for taking the time to reply!

  25. Good for you Alison! I love reading your blog, looking forward to a great 2013! Happy New Year!!

  26. Good for you! But I do have to admit that I’m jealous of the numbers your blog gets. I won’t be making any kind of income from mine at the rate I’m going. LOL! But I do enjoy writing the posts for it and that’s the most important. I commend you for bringing your blog plans to the public table.

    Another pat on the back to you for your quest for being debt free! It’s not easy and we have to work at it every month ourselves, although we struggle to save up anything as there always seems to be a major expense that comes up just when we think we’re getting ahead. We pay off any credit card balances every month. This allows us to use any credit perks/discounts the stores offer while not ultimately losing that discount by paying back more in interest charges. Most people can’t do that though, we’ve been lucky so far.

    Congratulations on striving for a healthier lifestyle too! I think it’s wonderful that your son has a new way of life. I hope you plan to touch on this in future blog posts.

    • Beth, stick with the blogging. Blog because you love it. Others will see that in your writing and will love your blog for it. There are things you can certainly do to get more exposure like making pinterest ready photos with text on them for example. I do those things, but I pretty much do the bare minimum. I am VERY lucky that my blog has gotten popular and I don’t take it for granted ever. Pinterest is great because it evened the playing field and let the cream rise to the top. The good posts get pinned, regardless of who wrote them. You don’t have to rub shoulders with the right bloggers anymore to get exposure. So just stick with it and use pinterest to your advantage.

      We use to pay off our credit cards each month, but we fall into the category of having the intention to pay them off each month, but then carrying a balance and getting behind. So we can’t allow ourselves to use them. Live and learn! If you can manage that, then that is great and kudos to you!! We still have a long way to go with the Ramsey plan, but we will get there.

  27. Great post, Allison! Thanks for sharing!!!

  28. Congrats on your goals and for finding a way to enjoy blogging again. Dave Ramsey program is great. Our family is down to just the house. Wonderful feeling! So very much worth all of the effort. Keep up the good work.

    Thanks for saying its ok to just be a stay-at-home parent. I’m one and I’ve spent the last year struggling with the fact that I don’t bring home the bacon (unless you count the literal bacon from the grocery). But our goal was/is to raise DD by one of us to ensure she gets full attention and development rather than a more group setting at daycare.

    • I am very lucky that I can stay at home with the kids and be a housewife. Some don’t have that option, so I realize that it is a blessing for me. If you can do it, and you want to do it, it is not a “lesser” job than working. It’s hard work raising kids! The working parent/stay at home parent debate has gone on for years, and I don’t wish to get into that debate with anyone. I just want to say, both are equally hard and deserve applause. All mothers should support one another no matter if they are a working parent or not. Let’s support one another and cheer each other on instead of fighting about which is better.
      Having said that, if you want to be a SAHM, then embrace it and be proud of it. You can work in 15-20 years from now when the kids are grown and out of the house. And as a SAHM, it was hard for me to not make any money – even just some fun spending money. So I’ve always made money as a SAHM. I’ve sold hair bows, I’ve worked in a daycare at a gym, I’ve bought and sold on craigslist and ebay, and now I blog. There are lots of little things you can do here and there to make a few extra bucks. You just have to be creative.

  29. And all of those reasons are why I will continue to follow your blog….that is the stuff we girlies out here want anyway…..decorating and your humor!! A perfect match! Totally get the sponsor thing once in a while, but nice to have an actual BLOG to follow with you as the star!!

    Happy New year!

  30. I read your blog because I like you, people love to read what’s happening to “dorks” like us! Thanks for writing us a blog worthy of reading! I will continue to do so in 2013, you have inspired so many creative ideas in me.

    • Marie, I don’t deserve such flattery. Thank you. You are too sweet. I still seriously can’t believe people care what I have to say. When I say it makes me laugh, I am not joking. I’m glad that my humor entertains. This is the way I see it – people come online to either learn something or to be entertained. So I try to do both. And I figure half my projects aren’t really all that wonderful, so I might as well make people at least laugh while they are reading it. lol Plus, in real life I pretty much have a witty joke about any situation, so when I blog, that is pretty much how I talk in real life as well. I just cannot stop myself from being sarcastic. It’s like a character flaw, but at least it’s one that people can giggle about.

  31. Thumbs up Allison!

  32. allison, thank you! your post today has reaffirmed my belief in what i call “real blogging”! some of my once favorite blogs have fallen off my radar because they didn’t seem honest, current, original, or unique anymore. they were all the same to me! i fell in love with blogging and started my own blog but the pressure “to keep up” made me hate it. you are restoring my faith. who knows, maybe i’ll give it another try! congratulations to you and your family for doing what makes you happy and successful! you go girl!!!

    • Barbara, it’s a hard balance. Blogging is easy until you get a following and readers want content so many times a week and you start feeling pressure to get a post up or lose your audience. The actual writing isn’t that difficult, it’s all the other stuff that goes into blogging that makes it hard. You should give it another try. Just try to keep the pressure off and only write when you want to. The day you let your audience control what you say and when you say it is the day you start hating doing it. You have to constantly fight the urge to get sucked into doing what everyone else wants you to do. Good luck to you my friend!

  33. Too be completely honest… I’d been following/reading for a long time… and the last year you sorta lost me. I didn’t feel as close & cozy when I came to read (probably more due to own personal stuff going on in the last year). But this post reminds me of what I used to read 🙂 I’m kinda excited 🙂 Obviously you know what you’re doing… I’ve been blogging for over four years and it’s a ghost town. I’m okay with that, because I can barely keep up with 3 young kids anyway… but I LOVE blogs I can connect with and feel at home when I come read and inspire my pants off (ok, not really, that’d be awkward, ha ha). Best wishes to you, I hope this year is fantastic!

    • Tys, thanks for the feedback. I do appreciate it and always use whatever feedback I can to improve on myself. I’ll admit, the past year and the thyroid issues kept me very lethargic and fatigued. It has been really hard to get enough energy up to even write a post most days. Fortunately I have all of that taken care of now and am feeling much better. Here’s to 2013 being more like 2010!
      Also, the bigger the blog gets, and the more comments I receive, it is very hard to continue to be like I use to be when no one was reading. Every “real and raw” post I write, I literally cringe before I publish it. You never know how people will react, and it’s hard to put yourself out there and then have rude comments flow in. Every word you say is critiqued and picked apart, and people get offended about everything. Bloggers who “keep it real” are really putting themselves out there. If you don’t have thick enough skin, it can be really hard to be criticized. Fortunately blogging has thickened my skin and I can usually take the criticism.
      But I do cringe before I publish pretty much each post. I’m trying really hard to pretend I’m writing a blog that no one reads, so I can just say whatever I really want to say and not censor it too much. That’s the honest truth about why bloggers get “fake” as they get a bigger audience. It’s easier to censor what you say than to be criticized under a microscope. (This is me “keeping it real” haha).

  34. Good for you and all your changes! I love your blog and I love it more without sponsor posts (I HATE them on blogs and NEVER read them). I think a blog without them seems more genuine and real, so I’m glad you’re going back to those roots. My house could use a lot of help and I always find yours to be inspirational. I just don’t have your energy and motivation yet when it comes to house stuff. Ha! But one of these days I’m sure I’ll start plugging away and your blog will be a lot of my inspiration. 🙂

    • You can do it! One day at a time. Just do one thing today that makes your house more a home – hang a picture on the wall, or find an accessory and intentionally place it on a shelf. Lots of little intentional things ads up and creates a beautiful home. You don’t need to run out and buy new stuff, or buy paint, or start a big project. Even just cleaning off the kitchen table and putting a potted plant on it will make your home more cozy.

  35. I have grown tired of all the sponsored blog posts anymore. I am so GLAD that you have gone back to your roots! I love this blog and I like your style because it looks lived in and I would feel comfortable in your house anytime 🙂

    • Sara, me too! haha I’m a blogger, but I’m also a blog reader. When other blogs do things over and over that I hate, I try to make sure I don’t do those same things. I don’t want my readers hating stuff I’m doing as a blogger. I hate that 70% of my reader every day is a promotional post, so I just decided I’m not contributing to that anymore. I don’t want to be part of the 70% of posts that I myself hate reading.

  36. You don’t know HOW refreshing this is to read! I stopped following some blogs who were just too professional because they lost authenticity! It’s nice to see someone step back from it all, because that’s what they want! It also puts things into perspective for me. Blogging is a hobby. I like comments (who doesn’t?) but they don’t make the craft I’m sharing any better. I have noticed and appreciate less giveaways and sponsored posts. Thank you for your authenticity!

    • You are so right! The number of comments doesn’t dictate if your project is great or not. I love that you said that. We all need to remember that. 🙂

  37. Dear Allison,
    Life, needs to be taken by the reins & defined or it will control US instead of the other way around. It’s good to have a friend remind me that it sucks the energy & vitality out of a home trying to constantly organize and reorganize to make room for more. And where does it end? If you’re a God believer like me, it’s also a reminder that I’m probably not trusting God like I should. We also took on the Dave Ramsey challenge 3 years ago & made it through. I have every confidence that you & your family will find it tremendously rewarding to “live like no one else so that you can Live Like No One Else”!

    • Congrats on doing DR yourself. It is very exciting to live like no one else so that later I can live like no one else. It gives me lots of hope for my future.

  38. Great post, your blog is one of my favorites! It makes me happy when a new post from you pops up in my reader:) I am glad you have happiness in it too. Keep on keepin on!

  39. Kristin Esparza says:

    Good for you, Allison!

  40. Hi! Idk if anyone has mentioned this to you already and I tried to read through the comments, but there are so many. Anyway, if you haven’t heard of the GAPS diet, I would highly recommend it to you. It’s super great that you’ve gone gluten free, that certainly helps. I think going on GAPS may take the healing further for you if you do the research and decide you’d like to try it. I’ve done the intro and my mother in law has been on full GAPS for just under a year. I only had minor digestive issues and it really helped. My mil had a ton of issues, really bad ones, and now she is starting to heal and has really noticed the difference. She will stay with it for as long as it takes.

    I digress… here’s a good first glimpse: but I recommend you googling GAPS diet or GAPS lifestyle/ recipes to get a more clear picture before you try it out if you decide to. Full disclosure: it’s very hard and you need to stay committed. It’ll be a lifestyle change but it’s sooooo worth it if it can help you and your family be healthy. Just my two cents! Either way, keep up the great work!!

  41. Wow! I can relate to your changes. I think I’m going to have to check out this gluten free thing. Right now, I’m sitting here with joint point in my left hand and both shoulders. I also have a weight problem, allergies, thyroid issues and a child with ADD/ADHD. Hmm….. could there be a connection?

    Oh, and let’s not forget the debt and too much dang stuff in my house. I’m asuming Dave Ramsey has helped a great deal. I’ve considered checking out his program but haven’t yet. I’ve heard him referred to as Damn Ramsey. LOL!

    My blog? Well…. the only traffic I have is my aunt and a friend or two. So there’s really no issue there. Although, it would be nice to start earning some income from the blog, I’m sure that would require content with some substance. HA! That I don’t have yet. My blog is basically just an outlet for me at this point. I do love your blog though. You inspire me with your DIYs. I hope to someday attempt some of your projects, but first I’ve got to GET RID OF SOME STUFF! LOL!

    • Francie, LOVE your comment. You are funny and I like it. There might just be a gluten connection, you should definitely look into it.

      I curse Dave Ramsey all the time. Dang you Dave Ramsey! We have a love/hate relationship. 😉

      Keep on keepin’ on with your blog, but only if you love it.

  42. Christine Kellejian says:

    oh!! I think you are completely the BEES KNEES!! You are an inspiration to myself and I am sure millions of others 😀 and I am really proud of you for doing what you love !!! I cant wait for the TV tutorial on how to hide the wires!! My hubby usually knows how to do everything, except this, heheh!! Cant wait to make all these wonderful changes to my home, that you have inspired me to do so!!! Thanks for everything you have done for so many and myself included!!!

  43. good for you Allison! now I AM in need of a curtain rod so I’m heading back up to check out that post.

  44. all true!! so hard not to get caught up in the “I can have my own business,etc” life and be a mom and a wife and manage everything. I have 4 kids and a blog. It’s not professional or even pretty. It’s fun. I know how to take pictures well, but I don’t have a cool camera so what you see is what you get. And you know, that is totally fine.=) I love your blog!!!

  45. Good. For. You.

    Life is so much better when we listen to ourselves, trust our instincts, and ignore peer pressure. Like you, I purged a bunch of “stuff” yet still feel there is much more to go. We’re heading in the right direction financially which feels good too. I have big changes and goals planned for my life and blog in 2013-and am excited to get back to the basics, be present, and enjoy the moments!

    Happy 2013!

  46. Allison,

    You Go Girl! I am SO happy for you!
    Now that you have gone gluten free try cutting back on your dairy consumption. My daughter is Autistic – mildly – and getting rid completely of dairy was next to impossible, but cutting back on it has helped immensely. Her speech patterns improved and she is able to communicate much better. The big thing we cut back on was cheese – she doesn’t drink milk; never really has – and things for her got better.


    • Maureen, funny you mentioned this because I actually have cut way back on dairy. lol. I only drink almond milk and I try really hard to avoid cheese. It has cleared up my complexion a lot.

  47. What an awesome year! And kudos for dropping the sponsors – after a while, the content of a heavily sponsored blog definitely changes. I don’t want to take part in giveaway (okay, I have admit, if I had ever won one, I would love taking part…. ha ha!) and I don’t want to hear about products that – most of the time – I can’t even buy in Germany. I want to read about a passion for creating, I want to read honest posts, and I want to be inspired. That’s why I read blogs. If I wanted high-gloss and lots of ads, I would read magazines. So thanks for taking this step! I hope you become a trend-setter! =)

    • I will probably mention products from time to time, but only because I love them, not because I am being paid to promote it. I don’t think cutting sponsors 100% from all blogs is the answer for everyone, but people could certainly cut back a little. It seems like blogs are being overrun with ads lately.

  48. Allison, I enjoyed reading your post. I am just getting started on my blog so it was good to hear your perspective on things. I would love it if you would check out my Budget Board (, I don’t know if it would help you out but it works for us. Let me know what you think. I’ll be back to visit soon!

  49. Good for you!!

  50. Good for you for setting goals and reaching them! I’m at the other end of the spectrum in just starting to make a wee bit on the blog and marketing myself and I will admit it does scare me because I still homeschool my youngest kids and I see how this blogging thing can take over your life. I’m having to be intentional and smarter as I see what the future holds.
    Marty@Marty’s Musings

  51. K, for some reason, I totally commented on this article, like, on the very night you posted it. I think it must’ve been too juicy and delicious, though, because the cybergods ate that comment right up. Gone! It’s too bad, really, because the comment was witty, empathetic, insightful, and wise…you would’ve been laughing one minute, crying the next, heartstrings would have been pulled while silver-lined hope springed (sprung?) from all directions.
    Whatever. Basically, what I said was that I admire you for your genuine approach to blogging and life, for your financial goals (hooray for debt-free! If I could just get our mortgage out of the way…), for your creativity and skillz, for your humor. Love it all. Wish we could be neighbs in real life. ‘Cept then I’d never want to take you cookies because you probably make better ones than me, then you’d be mad because I never brought you gifts, so we would fight and the neighb-hood would be divided. Phew! Good thing we’re not real-life neighbs. Crisis averted.
    Keep on keeping on. Love how successful your blog is; it’s for good reason. Content is awesome, and visiting here is a pleasure.
    p.s. This wasn’t in my original cyber-consumed comment, but THANKS for featuring my ombre duvet covers! I love them, too. xox

  52. Hey you – loved you before and love you more for this post – you’re right, now that you mention it, it seems the old Allison is back, only better. And I still wish you were my neighbor. I have got to explore this gluten-free world of which you speak. Pretty sure my hubby would seriously benefit and I probably would, as well. Looking forward to more fun inspiration this year. Oh! And the curtain rods…gotta check that project out again, maybe save myself some$$$$$

  53. Allison I have to THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart! I have been a “stalker” on your site for awhile. After reading this entry on your blog, I went onto Dave Ramsey’s website and was HOOKED! I went right out and got his book (and workbook) and have gazelle intensity to save my family from this horrible debt! I want you to know, you have woken me up! I will keep you updated! By the way, I LOVE your blog!

  54. Good for you! I’ve been struggling with whether or not to go down the sponsor road….but it just seems so stressful! You put into words exactly what I was afraid of and helped me to finally make that decision, Thanks!

  55. SO glad I came by and read this post. Good for you! I started to feel like things were getting out of control on my blog, too, so I really cut down. Love all the changes you listed. I’m glad you are happier! 🙂

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